Sadc tackles DRC/Zambia border dispute

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Harare (New Ziana) – A technical team, set up at the behest of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his capacity as chair of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation has started work to resolve the border dispute between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The DRC approached President Mnangagwa early this year to mediate in its long-standing border dispute with Zambia.

The DRC and Zambia have had misunderstandings over a part of their common 1 600km border, the latest arising from a late 1980s attempt to demarcate the frontier with beacons.

In an update on the situation, the regional body SADC said the technical team had been set up following “security incidents” which occurred in mid-March 2020 along the Zambia/DRC border.

“The Technical Experts Border Issue Team Mission led by a representative of the Chairperson of the Organ, comprising experts from the Republics of Botswana, DRC, Zambia and Zimbabwe and supported by the SADC Secretariat, was deployed on 23rd July 2020 at Chibanga and Kibanga, Kalubamba, Musosa, Luchinda and Pweto,” read part of the statement.

“The objective of the Mission is to conduct sensitization campaigns for various target groups in order to secure full cooperation of the local population; facilitate the adoption of common system for determination of the border coordinates, and a phased approach for the border demarcation and identification of key reference beacons along the border.”

The mission is expected to conclude its work on the 29th of July.

“A detailed report will be submitted to the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation.”

This is not the first time that SADC has been approached to discuss border disputes between two member states.

In the 1990s, the regional bloc intervened in the dispute between Botswana and Namibia over ownership of an island on the Chobe River, which forms part of their border.

The matter was subsequently referred to the International Court of Justice, with the World Court ruling in 1999 that the island belonged to Botswana.
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